Tag Archive: Chris Matthews

The Republican Party’s twisted masculinity

Republican U.S. Senate candidate and alleged child predator Roy Moore, dressed as a cowboy.

The latest revelations regarding Donald Trump‘s affair with and payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels don’t seem to be fazing Republicans. The reaction seems to be no more negative within the GOP than when Trump was caught on tape bragging to “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush about sexually assaulting women. Trump’s ex-wife, Ivana, even accused Trump of raping her, and some 19 women have also accused Trump of sexually assaulting or harassing them. This yawn from Republicans about Trump’s conduct toward women extends to many other Republican politicians as well. For example, U.S. Senator David Vitter was caught and admitted hiring prostitutes in 2007, and was re-elected in 2010. Likewise, Newt Gingrich has been a top Republican presidential contender and adviser for years, even though he is a serial adulterer who presented his first wife with divorce terms as she lay in a hospital bed recovering from cancer surgery. That these Republican men never seem to be punished by their supposedly “family values” base for sexual misconduct or mistreatment of women may be because the Republican Party thrives on a twisted notion of masculinity.

Could Chris Christie’s bullying help him in the 2016 election?


Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey speaking at an event hosted by The McCain Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey speaking at an event hosted by The McCain Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore, used under Creative Commons license. http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/10999009153/

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie‘s “Bridgegate” scandal has cemented Christie’s reputation as a bully. However, some folks are wondering whether being known as a bully could actually help Christie secure the 2016 Republican Party nomination for President, should Christie decide to run.

That Loaded Term “Illegal”

One of the clearest examples of how characterizing something slightly differently gives it a very different meaning occurs with the labeling of illegal immigrants. In a recent episode of MSNBC‘s “Hardball”, host Chris Matthews discusses the most popular ways of describing illegal immigrants, and the political ramifications of each. Matthews says:

When do you think, John, it becomes an ethnic slur? I mean, I try to be proper. Some people say ‘undocumented workers’, that’s very pro, I would think, a person here illegally. Some people say ‘illegal aliens’, which is pretty strong language, as [Michele] Bachmann does. That sort of doubles it down. They’re already illegal, let’s call them ‘aliens’. The others just call them, not even people, call them ‘illegals’. I watched that [Republican presidential primary] debate the other night, and I thought, they’re just trying to put these people down. ‘Illegals.’ That’s not even a person.

Matthews did a good job of encapsulating the most popular descriptions of illegal immigrants, and the very loaded, very different ways of classifying them for political effect. Presumably Matthews uses the term “illegal immigrant”, which is arguably the most accurate and neutral way to describe someone who moves to the U.S. illegally.

Next time you hear a discussion of illegal immigration, listen closely to the terminology used. It will likely give away the biases of the people using the terms, or at least the biases of those who are influencing them.